3 quarts water (salt optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium zucchini, sliced thin and patted dry
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
4 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
4 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped freash parsley
1 pound pasta - rigatoni, tortiglioni or penne
2 tablespoons grated romano cheese
Serves 4 to 6
Bring the water to a boil in a large stockpot with or without the optional salt.
Pour the oil into a large saute pan set on high and heat until it starts to ripple and almost smokes, about 3 minutes. Add the sliced zucchini, being careful to avoid oil splatters and cook until the edges start to turn brown, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, about 3 minutes. Turn the zucchini over and cook for 3 more minutes. Sprinle with the garlic, mint, basil, salt, red pepper and optional black pepper (for those of us who like an "extra kick") and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often to make sure the garlic doesn't stick and burn. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions until just tender.
While the pasta is cooking, remove 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and add it to the zucchini mixture in the saute pan. Return to it to the pot. Add the sauce to the pasta and cook over medium heat, stirring until well coasted, about 2 minutes. Be careful that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the cheese and toss well to distribute evenly. The dish is now ready to be sserved.